Families have mostly had good experiences at the maternity clinic and maternity hospital – aiming for more individualised servicesKeywords:
The City of Helsinki and HUS surveyed the experiences of mothers and their families who have given birth regarding the maternity clinic and maternity hospital. Respondents were mostly satisfied with the level of family-friendliness.
The City of Helsinki and HUS surveyed the experiences of mothers who have given birth regarding the implementation of care and services at the maternity clinics in Helsinki and the HUS Women's Hospital.
The data was collected by an electronic questionnaire and interviews in the autumn of 2022 from Helsinki residents who gave birth at the Women's Hospital. A total of 161 mothers responded to the electronic questionnaire, more than half of whom were first-time mothers. 23 mothers participated in the interviews.
The aim of the study was to increase understanding of the care experienced by families and to identify the related challenges and development needs. The joint goal of the City of Helsinki and HUS is to use the results to develop the services related to pregnancy and childbirth while taking the feedback received from families into account. The study was conducted by the University of Turku.
Emphasis on the importance of continuity of care and identification of individual needs
On average, mothers felt that family-friendly care was realised well at the maternity clinic. Better implementation of continuity and individuality in the care relationship was identified as a development target. Mothers wished that maternity clinics would provide more guidance for breastfeeding and baby care with practical and more versatile content.
Establishing a trust-based relationship with one's public health nurse was considered a fundamental pillar of a good maternity clinic experience, which is important to safeguard. More interaction and the possibility to also participate on site was desired from remote family coaching.
The presence of skilled staff during childbirth brought a sense of security
Mothers were satisfied with the birthing process and care during childbirth regardless of the mode of delivery. Although the mothers felt that the atmosphere in the maternity ward was hectic, many had a positive experience in childbirth.
The positive childbirth experience was impacted by professional staff who were present, listened and communicated openly, and made the mothers feel safe.
The postnatal period requires slowing down and focusing on families
Mothers were satisfied with the implementation of family-friendly care in the maternity wards and the Family Nest Hotel. Encountering and guiding families with less urgency was identified as the most important area for hospital development. Many hoped that the guidance for breastfeeding and baby care would be more consistent and uniform.
The Family Nest Hotel and the family rooms in the wards were seen as important, as they made it possible for families to stay together during this new stage in their lives. Post-discharge care and services, the hospital's outpatient services and the maternity clinic's home visits were welcomed, as they enabled the undivided attention and guidance of a professional.
The hospital and clinics intensify cooperation
The study identified the most important development areas for maternity clinics and maternity hospitals. The areas focus on the continuity of the patient care relationship, individuality, and the quality of the encounter. Based on the results, the City of Helsinki and HUS Women's Hospital will improve care and services to meet the needs of families even better than before.
Maternity clinics and maternity hospitals will invest in empathetic, unhurried and individualised family encounters and guidance. This will be done by means of internal training, for example.
Maternity clinics will continue to carry out family coaching remotely, but the material will be updated and customers will be more involved in the coaching.
In addition, the aim is to extend the childbirth coaching carried out in cooperation between maternity clinics and HUS to all first-time mothers. The customer would be supported during the coaching by both a nurse from the maternity clinic and a midwife from the maternity ward. The joint goal is also to make the pregnancy and childbirth service path visible and clearer to the customer.
Through these measures, Helsinki and HUS want to ensure that Helsinki-based families will have a more family-friendly pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period.